Vimeo has some great tutorials about the basics of shooting and editing videos. They cover a wide range of categories like gear, lighting, shooting, and do it yourself. One interesting tutorials that I found on the website was about tripod tricks. Here are some do it yourself tricks for shooting using the tripod…
Tripod as dolly slider- If you retract one of the legs on a tripod you can use the remaining two legs as pivot points to smoothly move your camera back and forth. This effect can help add motion to a static shot, suspense to a bland scene, or to help emphasize an object. Just remember to carefully pitch your camera forward and back as you lean the the camera. This will help keep your shot level while still giving you that smooth slider effect we all love.
Tripod as crane- Just like the dolly slider trick you again retract one leg and lean the camera on the remaining two. Since you’re trying to emulate a crane shot though, you’ll want to lean the camera far forward, almost to the ground and back. This effect can be exaggerated by extending the tripod to its maximum height. These types of shots are great for revealing moments in a scene or inversely moving from high to low to help emphasize a character or object.
Tripod as steadicam- The weight of your tripod can actually help smooth out your shots. Just open up the legs and grip the tripod from below the camera mount. The extra weight displacement should help keep small shakes to a minimum. This technique takes some practice to get right but with a nice smooth shot your video will look better. If you are unsatisfied with your footage, feel free to add some image stabilization during post. We used Final Cut Pro’s ‘Smoothcam’ filter!
Rubber band for pans- If you take an everyday rubber band and place it on the handle of your tripod you can smooth out your panning shots. The extra tension provided by the rubber band will help make your pan shots smooth instead of jumpy. Just make sure to grip the camera firmly with your other hand as you lead the movement by pulling on the rubber band carefully.
There’s also a video that talks about tripod tricks at http://vimeo.com/videoschool/lesson/110/tripod-tricks